As good as the Yankees have been and as potent as their lineup is, they are certain that they will be even better with Gary Sanchez healthy and hitting. Getting the catcher back from the disabled list Friday night offered the sort of new-lease-on-life lift a club gets from having made a big trade.
Then again, seeing the way Domingo German pitched in his 3 2⁄3 innings against the Mets at Yankee Stadium indicated a trade is something the team still can use. He allowed four runs to a team that has trouble scoring, evidence that the Yankees’ major concern is who is making the pitches, not who is calling them.
Still, Sanchez gave the first game after the All-Star break a sort of Opening Day feeling: An attitude that says anything is possible and the best days are ahead.
“I expect more of myself. I know I can be better in certain areas. The focus is now to help the team,” he said through an interpreter before the Subway Series opener, his first appearance after having missed 20 games with a groin strain. “You want to improve in everything. I want to improve my defense. I want to be more selective at the plate.”
His work behind the plate has caught flak, particularly from former manager Joe Girardi. He entered the game with the lowest batting average, .190, in the Yankees’ lineup. His franchise, its fans and opponents all nonetheless recognize what he can do. Every time his name was mentioned, strong cheers went up.
“Huge. When he’s right, he’s a true impact hitter, obviously,” manager Aaron Boone said, adding that Gleyber Torres is expected back Wednesday. “We’re excited to get that back to really have the ability to add length to our lineup.”
Sanchez went 1-for-5, striking out twice — in the seventh with two men on and in the eighth with the tying run on third. His only hit in the Yankees’ 7-5 loss was a shift-beating single in the sixth. Before the game he assured everyone that he was 100 percent.
“I got hurt when I was running, it wasn’t when I was catching. so there’s really no need to change anything. I want to keep playing hard,” he said.